BYLooking like a cross between a slimy slug and a flattened snake, the New Guinea flatworm has a renowned hunger for snails and the ability to live in just about any environment. In the past few decades, it has spread out of its native New Guinea to islands throughout the Pacific and as far away as France. It has now been discovered in mainland United States, in several gardens in Miami.
A study published Tuesday in the journal PeerJ shows that the odious worm has also made its way to Puerto Rico, Singapore, several New Caledonian islands and the Solomon Islands.
That’s a major concern, as it is considered one of the world’s worst invasive species, says study author Jean-Lou Justine, a researcher at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. (In fact, the Invasive Species Specialist Group, a global network of scientific and policy experts, has placed the worm on their 100 worst invasive species list.)